Washington, June 30 (): An international team of scientists has reported a discovery of the Earth’s oldest meteorite crater in Greenland which is thought to have formed some three billion years ago.
The crater is found near the town of Maniitsoq in Greenland. The crater that currently measures 60-mile-wide (or 100 km) from one side to another was caused as a result of a massive asteroid 30 kilometres across that smashed into Greenland three billion years ago, the scientists said.
The crater is discovered by a team of geologists under the leadership of Adam Garde, a researcher of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. After three years of intensive work, Garde and his colleagues now say they have enough evidence to support their claim.
Garde had been doing many researches on the Greenland’s geology and noticed some strange features that didn’t make sense. His team collected many samples over the years and published the results in the current issue of journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
In September 2009, he came up with the extreme explanation of an impact from a meteorite. Now he is “100 per cent positive” it’s a crater. Garde said the big crater caused from a meteorite would have caused the sea to rush in, but it wasn’t and it doesn’t matter. Adam Garde said but before it eroded, it was likely to be 25 kilometres deep and 600 kilometres wide, which would make it the biggest and oldest crater ever found on Earth.
Geologists, who discovered the crater, explained that it remained undiscovered until now as only the deepest parts of the crater survive. All the other near-surface and easily identifiable features of the crater have been worn away.
Calculations suggest that the 30km-wide meteorite which caused the crater was a massive one which if hits Earth would wipe out all higher forms of life, Garde told OurAmazingPlanet.
Researchers said Earth must have experienced many collisions between 3 billion and 4 billion years ago, but the evidences of most of the craters have been eroded away or covered by younger rocks.
The previously oldest known crater discovered on Earth — the 180-mile-wide Vredefort crater in South Africa was formed 2 billion years ago.